Mr. Modesty! Kola Abiola Marks 55th Birthday


•How he turned birthday to a master class in humility

I ndeed, we must not measure greatness from the mansion down, but from the manger up. Many a rich man giddy with power, carry himself with a false sense of modesty but Kola Abiola is remarkably different. He clocked 55 some days ago and contrary to the norm and expectations within the social circuit, he did not roll out a marching band or host a celebrity-styled soiree to celebrate the coming of age.

In the halcyon, starry-eyed days of youth, Kola, scion of late colourful businessman and presumptive winner of the June 1993 presidential election, Chief MKO Abiola, would have pulled all the stops to celebrate his birthday in any part of the world he desired.

After all, he is the first son and heir apparent to a billionaire dynasty. But beefy Kola has come of age. When he clocked 55 Saturday, July 1st, those who knew his social streak back in the days envisaged a lavish gathering where champagnes and cognacs and canapés would flow like a river. Though Kola, who in recent years has become less visible on the social scene, hasn’t changed band, he has only added a couple of seats to the horn section. It was mum from his household.

Except for a handful of associates and his siblings Deji, Agboola, Bolaji and Wura who placed adverts in some dailies to celebrate him, there was no indication that one of Nigeria’s understated, yet, thoroughbred, life-loving silver spoons was marking his day. Sources said he spent the early part of the day offering prayers to his maker and spending the rest of the day with his immediately family in his palatial mansion in the exclusive Osborne Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos. Close associates surmised that were Kola’s wife, Olayinka (nee Onileere) alive, it would have been a different story entirely.

She would have spared no expense to fete and celebrate the remarkable life of her hubby. Olayinka died in 2010 in Los Angeles while on vacation. She was reported to have slumped and died immediately. Olayinka was in her mid-40s. Her sudden and shocking death came three years after Kola lost his beloved daughter, Labake, at the age of 16. It is almost ten years now but Kola never quite recovered.


The drumbeats of war resound across the nooks and crannies of the Igbo nation, like the stirrings of medieval blood-fests between warring ethnic giants. But unlike the carnages of old that shaped and malformed the histories of great icons and civilisations, the ongoing spat between Ifeanyi Ubah and Emeka Offor may incite no bloodbath. Weeks after he was released from detention, Capital Oil and Gas founder, Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah, is finding it easier to forgive his acclaimed enemies than to forgive his purported friends; those that smile and eat with him yet, orchestrated more harm with a smile plastered on their faces. Ubah was arrested by the State Security Service May 5 over alleged diversion of petrol kept in his tank farm in Lagos by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC. He spent six weeks in detention.

Late last week, he allegedly coughed out N2billion out of the N11bilion he owes the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC. That is however not the story. The Anambra State native is reportedly very peeved with the role another prominent Igbo businessman and vice chairman of Chrome Group, Sir Emeka Offor, allegedly played in the whole saga. Aside that a man he calls his own brother as both hail from the same village didn’t lift a finger while his ordeal lasted, Ubah allegedly has privileged information that Sir Offor allegedly gave sensitive information to the security agents leading to his arrest. This was one betrayal too much, Ubah reportedly contended.

As things stand, Ubah is spoiling for a showdown and he has good grounds for his grouse, his posse told this reporter. It was gathered that Ubah would do anything at this juncture to recover a loan he was said to have advanced Sir Offor when he buried his father late 2016. Knowing his controversial predilection, there is no gainsaying that this portends a fight the battle-weary Offor might find hard to win.


Where her peers stay content in being ordinary, billionaire, Group MD of StillEarth Limited, Oyin Adeyemi, seeks to be extraordinary. She does not wish to appear the best, she seeks to be the best. But despite her predilection for excellence, the beautiful woman with tiny frame and mammoth reputation does not seek to become a Nigerian Oprah Winfrey, neither does she intend to model her exploits after the great deeds of mankind’s deceased heroines, Oyin simply wishes to be her own woman; a 21st century heroine cut from a rare stock. She does not turn a blind eye to the needy. Rather she pays good mind to their needs. And in this respect, his generosity proclaims her.

She is indeed generous at heart. Oyin embarks on a humanitarian odyssey like a kind of poet and painter whose imagination is unclipped. She paints picturesque scenes in lives severely marred by squalor; she encrusts bleakness in shiny varnish and, as she is able, she seeks to mend small damaged lives here and there. Little wonder, her company, StillEarth, a construction and realties giant, was one of the major corporate sponsors of VIP Art Exhibition opening of WANDERLUST, presenting works by Chidi Kwubiri, Emeka Udemba, Junkman from Afrika, Jimmy Nwanne, Unoma Numero, Yetunde Ayeni-Babaeko. The event hosted by WheatBaker, Lagos, on the 8th July, was well attended .

Chidi Kwubiri is a Nigerian artist. He has been drawing and painting since his childhood in Umuahia, Southeastern Nigeria. At school, he devoted his time and energy to learning the basic principles of perspective, still life and figurative drawings.